McConnell lays out GOP demands for government-funding deal
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) warned on Wednesday that Republicans won’t let full-year funding bills come up without a larger deal on government spending.
“When it comes to floor consideration, we cannot and will not start planting individual trees before we have bipartisan consensus on the shape of the forest,” McConnell said from the Senate floor.
Congress faces an end-of-September deadline to fund the government and avoid a shutdown. They’re widely expected to use a continuing resolution, which continues government funding at its current level, to get them past Oct. 1
Congress frequently passes a short-term continuing resolution to buy extra time to work out a larger deal on the 12 government funding bills that it wraps together in a massive year-end package.
But to pass the funding bills, Democrats will need 60 votes in the Senate — including at least 10 GOP votes. That gives Republicans the ability to block any bill from coming up for debate.
McConnell’s warning comes as the Senate Appropriations Committee cleared its first package of fiscal 2022 funding bills, underscoring that they don’t, currently, face a smooth path to the Senate floor.
McConnell said that in order to get a larger deal there would have to be equal levels of growth on defense and nondefense spending, as well as an agreement on keeping out provisions that Republicans view as “poison pills,” or issues that one party views as non-starters.
Democrats bristled at McConnell’s comments, with Appropriations Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) accusing him of “revisionist history.” He said he had been trying to start high-level negotiators about the top-line figure, which in turn sets the spending levels for the 12 individual bills.
“I am not going to put forward an allocation at this time. I believe that would only divide the Committee, and delay our typically bipartisan work,” Leahy said.
“I have been urging for months that we begin bipartisan, bicameral negotiations with the White House on spending top-lines, and I continue to believe that is the right way to proceed,” he added.